Involving Stakeholders is always a huge challenge for me so when I am lucky and I have seen them in Sprint Reviews I am happy. However, I run into many Stakeholders proxy. What does it mean? There are many managers (or Directors) that delegate the duty of participating in Sprint Review in order to get the feedback to Product Owners.
I didn’t request that!!!
The problem happens when the most important stakeholder (the top manager or the manager of stakeholders involved in the project) assisted to the Sprint Review (it gets worse until the Sprints passed) and he said: No, sorry but I didn’t request those requirements and without this (new) requirements the project is useless for me and my area.
A lot of stakeholders
I used to work with a client that develop software that affected many business units so the risk of loosing any important aspect of the business was too hight because of that the Product Owner had to be in touch with many stakeholders at the same time. My advise to deal with all of them was: take easy that as soon as the stakeholders would attend the Sprint Review they will be able to confirm the increment of the product and get their feedback. However, I didn’t take into account that their bosses would appear with more requirements or modifications about some of the requirements that were developed in the last Sprint.
The importance of the role of the Product Owner
As Product Owner you would have to be a great communication with every stakeholders in order to calm down all of them, balance their expectations and be sure that the stakeholders is acting on behalf of his area (and Manager as well).
Being Product Owner demand to get along with stakeholders but it is necessary to make working agreements about who is the man in charge, it means, as stakeholder you and only you have a voice in the Sprint Review on behalf of your business unit.
To sum it up, welcome stakeholders to give your feedback in the Sprint Review but don’t introduce changes in the backlog only because your boss was thinking in a new approach that it is totally different that you were talking about.